Angry birds, boxing hares and dancing adders- strange behaviour signals start of spring

Katie Phoenix

Wednesday 13 April 2016

Spring has sprung, and the RSPB have been busy reassuring members of the public that what may look like odd bird behaviour is actually perfectly normal at this time of year.

The wildlife charity has been receiving a number of calls from confused supporters who are reporting birds attacking their windows. In fact, this behaviour is actually the birds confusing their own reflection with a rival and attempting to chase it off.

Ben Andrew, RSPB Wildlife Advisor, said: "This behaviour is particularly prominent at this time of year as we're nearing the breeding season when birds are defending their breeding territories. The most commonly reported species to show this behaviour are Pied Wagtail, Goldcrest, Long Tailed Tit and Chaffinch. They perceive their own reflection as a territorial rival and attempt to chase it away."

It's not just our gardens where strange animal behaviour is taking place this spring. During April and May our countryside really springs alive with the territorial displays of many animals as the mating season begins. Bubbling curlew calls, boxing brown hares and dancing adders are all fascinating wildlife spectacles to be witnessed in the wider countryside and on RSPB reserves across the country.

Ben continued: "Wildlife mating rituals occur as males compete for the attention of females during the breeding season. If you're intrigued by what's going on in your garden, why not get out and visit one of our nature reserves across the country. There's plenty to do and see and now really is the best time to get outside and experience some of these amazing spectacles."

Now that the weather is warming up and the breeding season is underway, the RSPB is asking people to look out for 5 key signs of spring in their garden or on a nature reserve:

1. Nesting birds- with nesting season in full swing, gardens act as havens for birds and their young

2. Emerging insects- spring is one of the best times to observe insects such as bees and butterflies which are some of the first to emerge from hibernation.

3. Spawning frogs- at this time of year frogs and toads will often travel long distances at night, when it's cool and damp, to find a suitable breeding pond

4. Arrival of summer migrants- the spring migration period sees the departure of winter visitors and arrival of summer migrants such as swallows and cuckoos.

5. Blankets of bluebells- around half of the world's bluebell woods are here in the UK and April is the best time to see these beautiful flowers

For more information about RSPB nature reserves and to find one near you, visit

Last Updated: Tuesday 28 August 2018

Tagged with: Country: UK Topic: Reserves